2023 Elections: Zero Tolerance for Violence – Says INEC
Why must there be violence during elections?
What are the triggers of electoral violence?
Who are the perpetrators of the violence?
How can violence be checked in elections?
These among other issues formed the thrust of discussion at a forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for political stakeholders in Iseyin Local Government of Oyo State.
The forum was geared towards ensuring that coming elections in Nigeria were devoid of violence.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo State, Mr.Mutiu Agboke said sensitizing all actors in the process of election on the causes and prevention of violence was key.
“The most important thing for us is not just that we are complaining and complaining. INEC has identified some major stakeholders in these in atrocities.
We have noted the politicians and political parties. If we have identified them, then the onus is on INEC to now carry the campaign on the reduction of this violent trend to them”.
He expressed concern that elections in Nigeria were warlike in outlook, recounting the ugly tales that trailed the 2019 general elections.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner said the trend of electoral violence, revealed that such was often caused by politicians who had the motive of occupying the seat of power by force.
Mr.Agboke said INEC may have to adopt a technology based method to conduct elections.
” One of the things we are going to is to evolve a legal framework that would allow voters to vote without hassles to also allow primaries to be conducted without any imposition, to equally determine who to vote for and who to reject at the poll.
“If you look at the amendment electoral law before the National Assembly, it is to allow a situation whereby there can be room for a process of using technology, full scale,to conduct our elections.”.
The INEC boss advised voters in their preparation for elections to choose candidates with clean records and not those who only show up during campaigns to cajole them
Adding his voice to the forum,a member of the House of Representatives representing Iseyin,Itesiwaju, Kajola and Iwajowa Federal Constituencies, Mr.Sina Peller, re-echoed the call for electoral reform as vital in ending electoral violence.
” If Nigeria will progress political issues must be addressed because the problems militating against National development stems out of politics.
There is nothing that says somebody cannot take his voter card,just like the ATM card and go to an electoral voting kiosk (e-voting). If we do that, it will bring complete stop to electoral violence”.
Representatives of some political parties at the forum pledged to sensitize their members so that coming elections could be free of violence.
Earlier, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner had paid homage on the Aseyin of Iseyin land, Oba Abdul Ganiyu Adekunle, where he pleaded with the monarch to assist the commission in educating people of the land to steer clear of anything that could truncate electoral processes.
Oba Adekunle acknowledged the sensitive role INEC played in elections and urged officers of the commission not to compromise truth in the discharge of their duties.